Setting the Stage for Jesus

Setting the Stage for Jesus

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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From before the earth ever existed, God had a plan to redeem the people He knew would sin before He even created them. The idea that he has been setting the stage for Jesus to come hits my heart and reemphasizes how much He truly loves us.

But one thing has always intrigued me, even as a child: Why did God choose the exact moment He did to send Jesus to the cross?

Why didn’t God send Jesus sooner?

Like, immediately after Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden?

If Jesus had just arrived on the scene without any forewarning, would anyone have believed him to be the Son of the living God? Many had a difficult time with that already. But because God set the stage for Jesus’ coming, He could point back and say, “Yes, indeed this is me! I am the Messiah, the One you have been waiting for.  I AM the One the I AM was talking about!”

Why didn’t God wait longer?

Can you imagine if Jesus showed up today? I think we would all be so distracted by celebrity “X” or our phones that we wouldn’t even look up and notice the miracles he performed. Or Jesus would perform a miracle and people would claim it was only special effects or computer-generated.

Obviously, I don’t claim to know the answer to this question. It is one I have on my list to ask God when I get to heaven. But as I’ve studied the Scriptures more, I am constantly in awe of how God’s timing works and I’ve noticed so many wonderful events that set the stage for Jesus’s first coming!

Peter’s and Paul’s Explanations

In 1 Peter 1, the apostle Peter writes:

He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

1 Peter 1:20

And in Acts, Luke records Paul’s words:

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.

God was setting the stage for your sake!

God planned out everything in this way so that YOU and I would seek him!

For your sake!!

What stuns me is what a methodical planner God is. Seeing how he works through the smallest details just puts me even more in awe of Him. He takes his time, lays out ALL the necessary elements for THE perfect entrance into the world and THE perfect time for Christ’s death and resurrection.

God’s Word shows it all through:

  1. The Prophecies
  2. The Prophets
  3. The Parallels

The Prophecies

Within the Scriptures, there are 400 prophecies about Jesus.  According to this count, 353 of them have been fulfilled by Jesus.

God knew that many would claim to be the Messiah. It seems like He wanted there to be no doubt as to whom the chosen Messiah actually was.  He clearly told John to look for the One who has a dove come down on him:

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

 

John 1:32-34

The Prophets

I’ve read the Old Testament many times, so I have read all the things that the prophets had done. But for the first time ever, I started seeing how God used all the miracles done by previous prophets to prepare people for the Messiah and to cement the fact that Jesus was who he claimed to be. I sat in amazement.

It was almost as if God was slowly over centuries building trust in His people, so that they could look back at the Scriptures and verify God did indeed work in this way. God did use prophets to perform miracles like this in the past and now here is One, the Messiah, who doesn’t perform just a few miracles but is able to do all these things that have been done and so much more!

Here are a few examples:

Like the prophets of the past, Jesus:
  • Turned water, a life source, into something else.
    • Moses turned it to blood and Jesus turned it to wine.
  • Turned a small amount of food into enough.
    • God provided manna and quail when there was nothing else in the desert wilderness.
    • Elijah told the widow at Zarephath to use the oil and flour she had left to make a small cake and she was able to feed her family and Elijah for a long time
    • Elisha took 20 loaves of bread and some heads of new grain and fed 100
    • Jesus on different occasions fed many with a little food.  He took two fish and five loaves and fed 5000 and seven loaves and a few fish to feed 4000.
Greater than Any Prophet

God wanted his people to know that his son was greater than Moses and Elijah, the greatest prophets, and all the other prophets.  He did this by allowing a few of the apostles to see Jesus speaking with Elijah and Moses and then declared Jesus greater than them!

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Matthew 17:5

Yes, indeed Jesus was not the first to heal people or even raise them from the dead, but He was the only one who did ALL of these things and so much more.  Jesus also cast out demons, made the blind see, and ultimately FREED us from the chains of death for all eternity!  He fulfilled prophecies to show himself the One that they’ve been waiting for:

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Matthew 11:4-6

 

The Parallels

There are many beautiful parallels in the Old and New Testaments.  The one that stands out to me the most is the parallel between God sending a rescuer to deliver his people from slavery in Egypt and sending the ultimate rescuer to deliver humanity from the slavery of sin.

When the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, they waited for the prophesied rescuer to come. 400 years later, he came in the form of a baby, born in a time when baby boys were being killed. He was hidden away and raised in a way that the people did not expect. When he came in the name of the Lord to lead them, it took miracles and God confirmed that Moses was indeed the chosen leader. Not only did Moses, through the power of God deliver the people from slavery, he:

And finally, God took care of him in death.

Much like someone else the Israelites were waiting for so many years later….

Four hundred years passed between the last Old Testament book and the first New Testament book.  The Israelites were waiting for the Messiah. Their rescuer also came as a baby, whose life soon became endangered because Herod demanded the death of all baby boys under age two. He too was hidden away and raised in a way the people did not expect. When he came, it took miracles and God to confirm that yes, Jesus was the Messiah, the chosen one!

Not only was Jesus baptized even though he was sinless, he fasted for 40 days while God sustained him. He more thoroughly explained God’s teachings to the people. And he rescued and delivered people from the slavery of sin and death with his own blood, the blood of the lamb. Now he is preparing a place for all who believe in Him. And one day he will lead us to the Promised Land!  And finally, in life, death, and in resurrection God took care of him.

The Bible is so full of amazing details that lead back to God’s perfect timing! Delve into the scriptures for yourself. See how God set the stage from the beginning for everything to happen at the right time for your sake! 

 

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

Growing up in church, there are several Bible stories you get used to hearing over and over again.  As a child, it’s usually Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors, and so on.  As a teenager, it’s generally lessons about obeying authority, modesty, and relationship advice.  Moving into  young adulthood, we’re generally exposed to the rest of the Bible.  Believe it or not, there are actually many parts of the Bible that are still foreign to me, and may be to you as well.

I always find myself surprised when I hear a parable I don’t recognize–not that I feel like I know the Bible in its entirety.  However, the parables are usually prime picking for good lessons, so they’re generally pretty well-known.  I ran into one the other day when I was doing my morning devotional that really spoke to me. Now I’d like to share it so it can speak to you too!

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Jesus Tells the Parable of the Persistent Widow
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  He said, “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

For some time he refused.  But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night?  Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes will he find faith on earth?”

Luke 18:1-8

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Perhaps you are familiar with that particular parable, but I wasn’t.  I also wasn’t raised with the mindset that you pester someone until you get what you want.  I was raised with a more “southern charm” set of manners.  Don’t backtalk, always say please and thank you, and if you ask a question once, you don’t keep asking because that will result in a punishment because it’s just rude.  But the point Jesus makes is very clear.

Jesus wants us to pester the Father. 

Be persistent. Carry on. Ask repeatedly. Insist on being heard.  Pretty much the opposite of the general manners I grew up with.

Honestly, this one has proven difficult for me.  The idea of continuing to petition God the Father day and night makes me uncomfortable.  All of my good manners say, ask once and leave it.  Maybe ask twice if it seems really important, but more than that is just rude.  But Jesus clearly says…

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night?  Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly.”

The words are clear. We are to petition the Lord and he will see that justice is served quickly.

Will you join me in throwing manners out the window and getting down to the business of being open and real with God? 

The Parable of the Persistent Widow (p)

Grief: Mercy in the Abyss

Grief: Mercy in the Abyss

Melissa W

Melissa W

Melissa is an Okie with a Texas heart. She is a wife and a mother of three - two boys and a girl (the girl being squished right in the middle). After having taught in the classroom for 8 years, she now happily finds herself as a stay-at-home homeschool mom living life on her little 1 1/2 acre homestead raising chickens, two goats and a small garden. In any spare time, she enjoys leisure reading and also enjoys writing on her blog (chroniclesofakeeper.com). Out of all the little adventures of life - her greatest joy is found in her relationship with God. Walking in His grace, living in His peace and resting in His redemption is something she is very passionate about sharing with others.
Melissa W

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“For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?

But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?

How often–will it be for always?–how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, ‘I never realized my loss till this moment’? The same leg is cut off time after time.”

 

C.S. Lewis

The Barren Land of Grief

The presence of grief is felt thick and its roots are deep in the hidden places of our soul. It is a spiraling entity that immobilizes us and causes us to ache for what once was…or for that which never had been. Grief spirals us into a land barren and unknown.

Where it is lodged secretly, no one knows of its depths. Not even the most intimate of relationships are aware of its overwhelming presence. We find comfort in the pain. We draw strength from the agony, but our light flickers dim as the darkness overtakes every nook and cranny of our grieving being. The comfort and strength gained wanes and becomes our undoing. The grief paralyzes.

“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.”

Daniel 2:22

We hold tight to our comfortable uncomfortable, as grief has become part of our essence. But He who is light brings out the darkness. Nothing is hidden from His embodiment of knowledge. He sees our grief buried–our secret made known. He sees the darkness that has crept in, the grief that has taken hold. He knows what is in the darkness…and He offers us light.

For the grief-burdened soul, there is hope in the Gospel message.

When brokenness entered that once-perfect garden, it also birthed grief into a once joyful and peaceful place. We often speak of our rescue from sin, of a Savior who died bearing the weight of our iniquities. But do we not also share that the day sin and shame were hurled onto the beaten body of Perfection hanging on a cross, so also was the enormous weight of all that is broken dumped heavily and fully onto the Sacrificial Lamb. Grief, in its complete form, crushed He who was Hope and Joy.

For what?

For the sake of mercy…for the sake of hope and joy complete.

Finding Comfort in Jesus

In knowing that Christ carried our grief fully on the cross, we can now find comfort as He walks through waters dark with us. Knowing that He defeated grief through His death and resurrection, we can now find hope in a rescue from its prison. When our vulnerable bodies can fall onto bruised knee and stretch out shaky hands in surrender, He will meet us in our state of fragility and hold us close. He is the balm that heals our broken heart. His love saturates deep as it fills complete.

“When I survey the occurrences of my life, and call into account the finger of God, I can perceive nothing but an abyss and mass of mercies.”

Sir Thomas Browne

Is that, then, the hope in grief? Are the feelings of emptiness and the bone-deep aches drawing us into His place of mercy? It is then that we find all we lost is recovered that much more in His redemption. Do we dare hope to feel again, laugh again…do we dare hope to live again? Is grace so strong that it restores the soul tattered and torn by grief’s long reign? In the mass of mercies given, there is such an amazing grace.

“When I survey the occurrences of my life, and call into account the finger of God, I can perceive nothing but an abyss and mass of mercies.” - Sir Thomas Brown (3)

A New Perspective

The grace received brings on new perspective. Our grief buried can be His peace resurrected. Letting go is scary and hard. When the pain does not drench into our pores, we feel as if we might have betrayed. But to live is not to forget. Our life for His glory, our sadness for His joy, our emptiness for His fullness–this is when and how He walks in the grief with us. He beckons us close and He breathes life into our soul. We can ache for that which we grieve, because in the aching we can surrender. We surrender our grief to the One who knew the ultimate grief on the cross. So then, we do not abandon grief itself. Instead, we allow it to be made full through His mass of mercies–allow it to draw us deeper into the heart of God.

“The deepest things that I have learned in my own life have come from the deepest suffering. And out of the deepest waters and the hottest fires have come the deepest things that I know about God.”

 

Elisabeth Elliot

Finding His Eyes of Grace

Finding His Eyes of Grace

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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When was the last time you felt yourself losing your patience with someone? Was it on the freeway when a stranger cut you off? Was it with your kids during the difficult hour before dinner? Was it with your husband when he irritated that last nerve you had in you? Oh, there are plenty of opportunities to practice patience in our lives! More than patience though, what we really need are eyes of grace.

Using Eyes of Grace Instead of Judgment

Do you ever find yourself judging others? Of course you might not want to admit this, but I’m willing to bet that all of us have. Maybe it was the single mom who walked into church halfway through the sermon with her two children, all of them looking sloppy and making noise. Maybe it was the teenager wearing a “dress” that should be a shirt. Perhaps it was the older woman who never has a kind word to say. Yes, there are often times when it’s tempting to be judgmental. What we really need are eyes of grace. 

Do you suffer from insecurity? Or wish that you looked different or had nicer clothes? Do you feel defeated before you even begin to try something new? Do your failures and shortcomings speak louder than any victory? If so, sweet friend, you are not alone, and you are desperately in need of eyes of grace.

Grace is life-changing. Of course, the best example of grace is from our Father in Heaven.

 

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies us intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:4-6

Undeserved Grace

The Lord envies for our hearts intensely, yet time and time again we give in to the world. At least I do–I can’t speak for you. What a comfort to know that God extends me more and more grace. Grace I do not deserve. But really, grace is never deserved, it’s a gift we are given because we are loved so greatly. God’s eyes are full of grace when he looks on his children. As a daughter trying to be more like her Father, I must also try to see myself and others through His eyes of grace. 

 

When we exchange our pride for eyes of grace, we see ourselves not just for who we really are or who we want to be, but for who we are in Christ. This is not a place of insecurity but a place of victorious security! 

As we interact with others if we exchange our judgmental thoughts with eyes of grace we will see others the way God sees them. We will look on their disposition with love and understanding. This does not mean that if we notice a sin in their life that we accept their sin, just as I don’t want to accept the sin in my own life. What it means is that we see their heart, and seek to lovingly nurture it.

When our patience runs thin, and we exchange our anger for eyes of grace, we will remember to let the Holy Spirit shine through us in those times. Mercy and forgiveness will be on our hearts because we know that we’ve received it often ourselves.

 

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Recite Before You Respond

In the book Toddlers on the Move by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller I’m learning lots of tips for staying patient, as that’s a needed skill with a toddler! They suggest when you find yourself turning angry to recite the fruit of the spirit before you respond.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

 

You see, we can’t offer this wondrous grace on our own. We are only human, and we most definitely fall short. But if the Holy Spirit is living in you then you’ve got His eyes of grace living in you. You must call upon the Spirit and beg that you see through HIS eyes of grace.

When we use His eyes of grace it reminds us that we want to treat others and ourselves the way Jesus would. The best way to do that is to let the Holy Spirit’s fruit pour out from us.

Eyes of grace–we all want to be seen through them–and the good news is that we all are.

But he gives us more grace. (James 4:6)

 

The Lingering Fragrance of Christ

The Lingering Fragrance of Christ

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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What’s your favorite smell?

I have some of my grandma’s perfume. Whenever I take it out and enjoy it’s scent, all these wonderful memories come flooding back.  I feel her warmth and love. Sometimes, the scent alone brings tears to my eyes. She has been gone a long time but her scent still lingers.

The Scent of Jesus that Lingered

I can’t help but think of how Jesus must have smelled the day he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.  Just the day before Mary had poured “about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume” on Jesus feet.  Surely, the scent would have lingered to the next day and been wafted in the air by those who were fanning palm branches, laying the branches down before Him and yelling “Hosanna!” and “Blessed is the King of Israel!”  How that expensive, rare scent must have stood out and made a lasting impression on all those who were in his presence that day!

Who knows maybe the scent even lingered with each step he took towards the cross.  What a beautiful gift Mary gave to Jesus and all those that came in contact with him the days following.  Without knowing it, she was preparing Jesus for the day of His burial just a handful of days away.

John 12:1-8

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him,objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

 

aroma-of-christ-on-earth-1

Jesus’ Fragrance Lingers Today

Christ has been gone from this earth for thousands of years but his scent still lingers today!  Others can smell it through us – his disciples on earth!

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?
2 Corinthians 2:15 -16

Just like Jesus, our life giving actions and words will be a sweet and wondrous smell to all those who accept it and will reek to those who reject it.  No matter how it smells to others, know that it is a pleasing aroma to God and we should be proud to wear this eternal scent. Let us praise His name for all He has done.

2-corinthians-2-15

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Lord, you have given us everything including your One and Only Son!  Through Him we have life and hope everlasting.  You’ve given us the gift of your Holy Spirit to guide us through this life and have even given us the scent of Christ himself!  Praise you, Lord, for all you have done and will continue to do throughout the generations.  May those we reach out to in your name take hold of you and impact generations upon generations for you too!  It is our hope and prayer that we will be a pleasing aroma of Christ to you.  In the One who pleased you with His sacrificial life – Amen!

the-lingering-fragrance-of-christ-pinterest
So That the World May Know: The Path to the Cross

So That the World May Know: The Path to the Cross

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

this-post-may-contain-affiliate-links-for-your-convenience-and-at-no-extra-cost-to-you-1
Have you ever gone through a Bible study that just blew you away?  You came out with such a changed perspective, more love for God and his amazing gift, and a realization that God is just more awesome than you could have ever imagined?

Ray Vander Laan’s series of studies That the World May Know is like this for me!  Several years ago, our associate minister introduced us to this amazing video series and I highly recommend it.

As a historian and Bible teacher who studied in Jerusalem, Ray Vander Laan helps us connect the Biblical principles of each Bible story to the cultural context by showing us the places where the Biblical events happened and explaining their significance.

It’s so much more than a Bible study

There are many great Bible studies out there, so what makes this study different?

What sets Ray Vander Laan’s series apart is that you don’t just pop the DVD in and watch him talk.  You pop the DVD in and then you set out on a Biblical adventure of exploring the text while exploring the Bible lands.

What’s the Significance?

Have you ever read a Bible story and thought, “Why did they do that?” or “Why is that detail included?”  I have many times.

This is where Ray Vander Laan takes time to not only physically show you what these details would have looked like at the time but what they represented and what their significance in the Bible stories was. Understanding these details help us have a better understanding of how to apply these truths to our lives.

For example, understanding “the cup” that Jesus picked up and said, “Take this in remembrance of me” takes on a whole new meaning when you understand that that particular cup has a symbolic meaning too!  Jesus didn’t just pick up any cup.  You see every single cup taken during the Passover Seder signifies something.

In one of his Bible Studies, “Path to the Cross: The Fifth Cup: Our Way of Hope,” he explains the significance of each Passover cup and how the promises declared with each cup impacts us as Christians taking communion today, as well as how they impacted the Israelites when God brought them out of Egypt.  Christ fulfilled these promises, and they are something we can cherish and remember now for encouragement until He returns!

The Path to the Cross

Last year as Easter approached, as many Christians do, I dug deeper into the Scriptures.  I wanted to understand more than I ever have before. Truly, all we need to understand is that we are all sinful and that Jesus sacrificed himself, taking all our sins upon him so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.  It’s really that simple.

What am I missing?

But so many times, I look at the days leading up to the Last Supper and think, “What am I not getting?  What would someone from the first century have noticed that I just can’t comprehend?”  Did the disciples sitting around that table, walking day in and day out with our Savior understand more of what was meant, even after the fact?  Jesus said they wouldn’t understand it all at the moment but later it would become clear.

We have the fortunate ability to look back and understand a little more than they did in the moment, but we miss what their cultural context made evident to them because that is not how we live.

As an answer to prayer, I stumbled across Ray Vander Laan’s video lessons called “The Path to the Cross,” which is volume eleven in the series called So That the World May Know. (It was on Amazon Prime!)

This five-video lesson set blew my mind.  I look at the Last Supper in an entirely different way now.

Not only did he discuss the last supper but the Mount of Olives, which is very different than how I pictured it, and brought to life the absolute understanding and anguish that those hours and days before the crucifixion held.  Not only that but because Ray Vander Laan teaches these studies in the places or as close to the places where the stories actually took place, the visuals bring the Bible truths to life in ways I’d never experienced before.

These are perfect to watch as you prepare your family’s heart to celebrate and be even more in awe of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection this weekend!

The best part is they are FREE on Amazon prime!

Watch the first in this volume by click on the graphic below.


Win the “Path to the Cross” DVD study and the Discovery Guide

Thanks to a donation by Zondervan you can enter to win this study as well as another!

Path to the Cross Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win “A Path to the Cross”

The Death and Resurrection of the Messiah

I purchased this “Death and Resurrection of the Messiah” DVD and Discovery Guide from Zondervan a few weeks ago and have been excited to go through it.  It contains ten lessons and can be used for groups or individuals.  We enjoy watching them as a family.  I love how my kids can see where these stories happened and understand that these places still exist today!

Previously, I’ve only watched the DVDs and had short discussions with our bible class or our small group.  This time I’m actually going through the discovery guide as well, and let me tell you, it is great!  I’m loving digging deeper with the discovery guide…taking time to soak in the lesson, chew on it a bit, and then enjoy it more.

When Storms Come

The first video lesson in this volume, “When Storms Come,” is only about sixteen minutes long.  Enjoy it and be encouraged by seeing this story we’ve heard so often in a new way.  Then enter to win it as well!

Win Ray Vander Laan’s “Death and Resurrection of the Messiah” DVD study and the Discovery Guide

Enter for your chance to win “Death and Resurrection of the Messiah” DVD study and the Discovery Guide
Messiah and the Resurrection

Have you seen any Ray Vander Laan lessons before?

 What are your favorites?  

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